Board of Trustees and Advisory Board Members

Board of Trustees

Natalie Wexler, Chair

Natalie is an education writer and a trustee of the Omega Foundation, which supports efforts to improve public education for high-needs students. She has also volunteered as a tutor in both writing and reading at high-poverty D.C. public schools. She has a B.A. from Harvard University, an M.A. in history from the University of Sussex (England), and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She has been a journalist, a historian, a novelist, and a lawyer, and she clerked for Supreme Court Justice Byron R. White during the 1984-85 term. Natalie is a co-author of The Writing Revolution: A Guide to Advancing Thinking Through Writing In All Subjects and Grades.

Chris Stern Hyman, Esq., Vice Chair

Chris is a health care lawyer and mediator. In 1998 she formed Medical Mediation Group LLC, which provides mediation services to resolve disputes in health care and conducts trainings. She is a member of the American Arbitration Association’s Panel of Mediators and a Special Master mediating appeals pending before the NY Supreme Court Appellate Division, First Department. She currently serves as Secretary of Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York, Inc., Secretary of the Fund for Public Health in New York, and is a Vice President of Win: Breaking the Cycle of Homelessness for Women and their Children

Arnold J. Levine, Treasurer

Arnold was a member of Proskauer LLC’s Executive Committee for nine years and a former Co-chair of the Corporate Department. He established and served as Chairman of the Proskauer Institute, which provides a formal training program for all newly arriving Proskauer attorneys each year. During his 50-year career at Proskauer, his principle areas of practice included mergers and acquisitions, private equity funds, corporate governance, tax sheltered investments, private placements, partnerships, LLCs and joint ventures, early stage investments, and financial disclosure and accountants liability. He received his B.A. from Cornell University and his L.L.B from Columbia Law School, where he was an Editor of the Columbia Law Review.

Judith C. Hochman, Ed.D, Founder and Secretary

Dr. Judith C. Hochman is the creator of the Hochman Method and founder of The Writing Revolution, a non-profit organization dedicated to training and supporting teachers and school leaders in implementing this explicit set of evidence-based strategies for teaching writing. Dr. Hochman served as the Head of The Windward School in White Plains, New York, a nationally renowned independent school focused on teaching students with learning disabilities. She is the founder of the Windward Teacher Training Institute and a former Superintendent of the Greenburgh Graham Union Free School District in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. In addition, Dr. Hochman lectures, presents workshops and gives courses for educational organizations, colleges and universities, as well as public and independent schools throughout the United States. She is on the Advisory Board of Everyone Reads, a national advocacy organization for dyslexia and related learning disabilities. She received the New York Branch Award from the International Dyslexia Association. The Reading Reform Foundation presented Dr. Hochman with the Leona D. and Phillip J. Spector Leadership Award. Dr. Hochman is the author of The Writing Revolution: A Guide to Advancing Thinking Through Writing In All Subjects and Grades (along with co-author Natalie Wexler), Teaching Basic Writing Skills a chapter entitled “Composition: Expressive Language and Writing” in the publication Multisensory Teaching of Basic Language Skills, and numerous articles.

Kathleen Abrahamson

Kathleen has been active in the field of education her entire professional life. She taught fifth grade in upstate New York for three years, followed by a teaching position in a middle school in Newark, New Jersey. While raising three children, she was a volunteer tutor in the public schools, helping children learn to read. This experience led her to the field of learning disabilities and special education. After attending graduate school, Kathy worked in a school for emotionally disturbed children. Following four years in that capacity, she joined the staff at The Windward School and has been there for 30 years as a reading specialist and tutor. At Windward, she has seen the tremendous impact the writing strategies have for teachers and students.

Peter Bencivenga

Peter Bencivenga has been with CaseNEX, LLC since 2009 and currently serves as the President and Chief Operating Officer. Peter co-founded DataCation (now a division of CaseNEX), which took NYC public schools by storm with his breakthrough “DataCation” technologies that big box data companies have spent millions trying to crack over the last decade. Approaching data management with sophisticated extraction methodologies allows the DataCation systems to assemble disparate pieces of information to give schools what they need to keep the most vulnerable students on track. DataCation school management tools are now used in thousands of schools across the country and is a leading data dashboard provider for large-scale district and state implementations. Mr. Bencivenga has been instrumental in integrating technology and web data tools across the New York City Department of Education, which he served as a Technology Teacher and Coordinator for over 16 years. He holds an M.S. in Instructional Technology from the New York Institute of Technology.

Deirdre DeAngelis

Deirdre has been the principal of New Dorp High School in Staten Island, NY since 1999. Prior to that, she brought Telecommunications High School in Brooklyn, NY into the public eye when, as assistant principal of special education, she spearheaded a successful improvement for special education students. Since 2005, she has led dramatic transformation of New Dorp through several innovations, including restructuring into smaller learning communities; implementing strategic inquiry throughout the building; and implementing the Hochman Method of writing instruction across the content areas. Between 2005 and 2011, New Dorp’s graduation rates have risen from 54% to 79%, and they are still rising. The improvements at New Dorp have been recognized both nationally and internationally and Deidre is the recipient of several educational awards. Most recently, Deidre was a 2017 recipient of the Sloane Award for Public Service in part due to her successful implementation of The Hochman Method at New Dorp High School.

Andrew S. Komaroff

Andrew is the Chief Operating Officer of Neuberger Berman Group LLC. He joined the firm in 2001. Andy’s responsibilities include oversight of the firm’s client coverage and distribution channels, as well as information technology and operations functions. Andy also served as the interim Chief Financial Officer immediately following the firm’s employee-led buyout in 2009. Prior to joining the firm, Andy was a principal at Ripplewood Holdings, a New York and Tokyo-based private equity firm, and a management consultant at McKinsey & Co. Andy is a Member of Stanford Associates, selected by the University for top one percent of alumni volunteers. Andy received a B.A. from Williams College and a J.D. from Stanford Law School.

Rohan Srinivasan

Rohan was most recently a Business Analyst at Alphabet Inc., where he was responsible for operations planning and analytics for the Google Fiber project. Prior to joining the Fiber team he was a Financial Analyst on Emerging Products at Google, where he was responsible for building financial models and vetting opportunities in the consumer payments space. Rohan graduated from New York University’s Stern School of Business with a B.S in Finance and Economics.

Kelly Taraborrelli

Kelly is an accounting and finance professional at Macquarie Holdings (USA) Inc., and has worked internationally in Australia and the U.S. Kelly has diverse experience across multiple finance disciplines including accounting, audit, management reporting, tax and treasury. An active volunteer and participant in the nonprofit sector, her efforts include fundraising, one-on-one mentoring, and serving as the Treasurer for the Leadership Council of The Children’s Village. She is also involved in workplace diversity initiatives and is an advocate for gender equality in the financial services industry. She has a B.A. from the University of Technology, Sydney in Australia and is a qualified Chartered Accountant.

Gauhar Turmuhambetova, Ph.D.

Dr. Turmuhambetova is a Managing Director at BlackRock and a member of Mortgage and Behavioral Modeling Group within BRS Financial Modeling Group, where she leads agency mortgage modeling and research. Prior to this, she led consumer whole loan and consumer ABS modeling and research. Before joining BlackRock in 2006, she was a research fellow at the Princeton University Department of Economics. Dr. Turmuhambetova earned a B.S. degree from Moscow State University (Russia) and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago in 2005.

Advisory Board

Neil Braun

Neil is the Dean of Pace University’s Lubin School of Business. Previously, Mr. Braun held the position of Chief Executive Officer of The Carbon Neutral Company and Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of The GreenLife Organization. He also sits on the Share our Strength and Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center Board of Directors.

David Ciulla

David is the co-founder of the nonprofit ReadWorks, improving teacher effectiveness and student achievement in reading comprehension, based on cognitive science research. Prior to ReadWorks, David co-founded Sports Basement, a successful San Francisco-based retail company, was a consultant advising U.S. and international business clients, and was an analyst with Chemical Bank in New York City. As a classroom teacher for five years, David taught middle school ELA, math, and science, and coached basketball and baseball. David has also led development projects in the Navajo Nation and the Amazon region of Brazil. He received a B.A. from Stanford University and an M.A. from The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

David Coleman

David is the ninth president of the College Board and has been described as the “architect” of the Common Core. He was recognized as one of Time magazine’s “11 Educational Activists for 2011” and one of the NewSchools Venture Fund Change Agents of the Year for 2012. He received a Rhodes Scholarship and studied English literature at Oxford University and classical philosophy at Cambridge University. He attended Yale University and public schools in New York City.

Esther Klein Friedman

Dr. Klein Friedman has served New York City students since the mid 1970s as a teacher of special education and reading in elementary, middle and high schools; staff development trainer; principal; director of literacy and social studies; regional director of academic intervention services and local instructional superintendent; director of secondary school reform, director of academic intervention services, director of a Supplemental Educational Services program internal to the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE); interim superintendent; and currently as executive director of literacy and academic intervention services at NYCDOE. Her doctoral work focused on reading acquisition in struggling students. Dr. Klein Friedman’s professional interests include exploration into the challenges of and solutions for supporting achievement of students in urban schools, particularly in the area of literacy.

Doug Lemov

Doug is the Managing Director of the Uncommon Schools’ Teach Like a Champion team. He is the author of the international bestseller Teach Like a Champion, a study of high performing urban teachers to make their methods concrete and replicable. It has sold nearly 1,000,000 copies and been translated into eight languages. Doug is also the author of the revised and upgraded Teach Like a Champion 2.0, Practice Perfect (co-written with Uncommon colleagues Erica Woolway and Katie Yezzi) and Reading Reconsidered: Rigorous Literacy Instruction in the Common Core Era (co-written with Uncommon colleagues Erica Woolway and Colleen Driggs). Prior to his work at Uncommon Schools, Doug was the Vice President for Accountability at the State University of New York’s Charter Schools Institute and a founder and principal of the Academy of the Pacific Rim Charter School in Boston. He has a B.A. from Hamilton College, an M.A. from Indiana University, and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Jillian Neubauer

Jillian Neubauer is a former business executive with extensive experience as a general manager and in strategic planning and new business development. Most recently, Jillian served as Director of Finance and Operations for the University Alliance for Life-Long Learning, an online learning venture of Princeton, Yale, Oxford, and Stanford Universities. Prior to that she held a number of positions with The Walt Disney Company, ultimately rising to Vice President and General Manager for ABC.com, Oprah.com, Oscar.com, and Disney’s Family.com. Prior to Disney, Jillian worked at Bain & Company as a strategy consultant. Jillian serves on the Board of Directors of The Stephen Gaynor School and the Children’s Museum of the Arts, as well as the Children’s Board of the Columbia University Medical Center. Jillian received an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School with second year honors and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Operations Research, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Princeton University. Jillian and her husband, Larry, live in New York City with their three daughters.

John J. Russell, Ed D.

Dr. Russell is the Head of Windward School in White Plains, New York. Windward is a school that serves the needs of students with language-based learning disabilities. Over the past three decades, Jay held leadership and teaching positions in school districts in Westchester County, New York and Fairfield County, Connecticut. Prior to Windward, he served for 11 years as Superintendent of Schools in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. Jay earned his doctoral degree in Educational Administration at Fordham University and an M.B.A. from the University of Connecticut. He also has a Master’s degree in Oceanography from New York University and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Administration from Fairfield University. His research interests include language-based learning disabilities, direct instruction, and organizational theory.

Shalinee Sharma

Shalinee Sharma is CEO and co-founder of Zearn, a nonprofit curriculum publisher. Under her leadership, Zearn created Zearn Math, a top-rated K-5 curriculum and classroom model that supports daily differentiation and engagement so all children can love learning math. Zearn Math is ‘green-lighted’ by EdReports and is used by millions of students across the US. In addition to curricular materials, Zearn also offers professional development to support teachers with building deep content expertise. Before co-founding Zearn and co-creating Zearn Math, Shalinee spent more than a decade at Bain & Company where she led work for clients in the tech, consumer products, financial services and education. She received her MBA from Harvard Business School and her BA from Brown University. The child of refugees, Shalinee has always been passionate about universal access to an excellent education. She spends her free time outdoors with her twin sons and husband.

Megan Young Wiese

Megan graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Duke University, where she trained to teach in the public school system. Upon graduation, Megan worked as a teacher in the People’s Republic of China while residing in Hangzhou. Megan’s corporate experience includes working as a Vice President of Marketing at The O’Connor Group, an independent investment firm, and as a Senior Vice President at ERE Yarmouth. Currently, Megan is active on a variety of trustee and advisory boards, including those of Amazon Watch, Essex Farm Institute, Human Rights In China, Reading Reform Foundation, Stephen Gaynor School, and The Writing Revolution. She resides in New York City with her husband and their three children.